Beer’s Debt to Jackson, 1976-1977: “The Audacity of Hops” review (part 3)

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Michael Jackson.
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So much of what I know about beer writing comes from two authors: Garrett Oliver and Michael Jackson.

Oliver, the head brewer at Brooklyn Brewery and author of “The Brewmaster’s Table,” changed my professional life. It was after poring through that book on beer history, style, and pairing  that nudged me in the direction of spreading the gospel of craft.

Jackson, however, was the godfather of modern beer writing. Indeed, as Tom Acitelli posits in his profile of Jackson in “The Audacity of Hops” (Chicago Review Press), Jackson was “perhaps the most influential food writer on any one subject of the twentieth century.” Jackson surely deserves his own biography, but Acitelli’s all-too-brief chapter on whom he calls “The Bard of Beer” serves as a welcome British diversion in a craft beer history book about the most influential American players. Continue reading “Beer’s Debt to Jackson, 1976-1977: “The Audacity of Hops” review (part 3)”

Into the Lite, 1970-1973: “The Audacity of Hops” review (part 2)

Audacity of hops

What gives Tom Acitelli’s “The Audacity of Hops” a sense of structure is following the paths of innovators in the field of craft beer in the U.S. He isn’t satisfied with name-dropping. He wants to take you along for the ride with these dreamers and beer nerds.

He breaks his book up into tiny, biographical sips separated chronologically and geographically, beginning with 1965 in San Francisco.

I’ll focus in this installment on the segments that deal with 1970 in Davis, Calif. through to 1973 in Munich, Germany and Brooklyn, NY. Continue reading “Into the Lite, 1970-1973: “The Audacity of Hops” review (part 2)”

Head West, 1965: “The Audacity of Hops” review (part 1)

Audacity of hops

Tom Acitelli’s “The Audacity of Hops: The History of America’s Craft Beer Revolution” (Chicago Review Press Inc., 2013) contains such a thorough look at craft beer that I thought it deserved a review of several chapters. Here’s one of them:

Chapter 1: The Last Shall Be First, San Francisco 1965

Following a breezy introduction, which signals to the reader that this history was not going to be a dry tutorial but a story framed around the birth and adolescence of craft beer, Acitelli goes to what he believes to be the center of the modern age of independent brewing. He focuses on Anchor Steam Brewing, regarded among the drinkeratti as the link between the wild west of pre-Prohibition and Samuel Adams prominence.

He writes like a novelist, which appeals to me. Like a novelist, Acitelli develops characters the best he can. In this case, the lead character is Fritz Maytag, the grandson of the dishwasher magnate who turned his enjoyment of a pint of beer into a craft brewing legend. Continue reading “Head West, 1965: “The Audacity of Hops” review (part 1)”